1. "WEIRDO KID WITH A LIMP" - THE WE SHARED MILK [MUSIC]

    It was roughly a year ago that I moved to Portland, and it was roughly a year ago that I discovered The We Shared Milk. This is a town packed with talented musicians — every night you can find an affordable show that is not only sure to entertain, but also might turn you on to your new favorite act. With music so ubiquitous and readily available, it’s easy to get jaded and take it all for granted. Luckily, there are bands like TWSM whose sound cuts through even the most jaded attitude (aka mine). The first time I heard them, they had that effect on me — something that few other bands have done (Grandparents and Sama Dams come to mind as the only other examples).

    Their latest release is Lame Sunset, an incredibly apt symbol of their general sound and attitude. For the most part, they make laid-back, loose stuff, built around obtuse chords, and progressions way more intricate than your basic I-IV-V’s. It’s all smeared with a fair amount of delay and reverb, and it plays like a warped version of your favorite tape, fresh out of a long stint in a hot car. Their tunes are usually blurry, and even upon first listen, they feel familiar to the point of evoking old memories, which is always a good feeling to get from music.

    Unfortunately, TWSM is no more, having played their final show last night at Bunk Bar. You can still buy their music on Bandcamp, though, so go do that. And really, you might want to like them on Facebook just in case, because you never know — I’ve been told it’s their “last show” for like the last two or three shows, and it’s starting to seem like a ploy to get a better draw. I’m onto you, TWSM.

    "Weirdo Kid With a Limp" is probably my favorite TWSM tune — it’s a complete tune, with no hang-ups. The progression it opens on (which is also the progression used in the hook) has the coolest groove about it, and drum-wise, the accents on what I’m assuming is the bell of the ride cymbal really do it for me. The contrast between the progressions in the verse and the hook is pretty interesting, as the hook features more of those irregular chord shapes, while the verse seems to be pretty straightforward. The break for the bridge has a Pink Floyd feel to it (I mean that as a compliment), both in tone and melody. Also, I’m a huge fan of the long fade-out at the end, only to jump back up for a half-second and then cut out — seriously considering swiping that trick myself.

    You can find “Weirdo Kid With a Limp” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!

     


  2. "LIVING FOR LOVE" - DAN SVIZENY [MUSIC]

    There’s something unbearably honest about the “lo-fi” aesthetic. Maybe it has to do with the transparency it exhibits. Maybe it’s tied to the unfettered intimacy involved in creating it. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the true nature of a song will shine through, no matter how many layers of fuzz you drape over the top — that goes for both good and bad songs. Luckily, Dan Svizeny writes good ones, and they’re still as fuzzy as ever. His “Living for Love” is today’s featured track.

    I found Svizeny while scanning through the roster over at Forged Artifacts (who you may remember as LAPD's label), and I was way stoked to discover his tunes. Recently, I've been spinning Every Weekend, Svizeny’s latest release, pretty frequently. It’s full of lo-fi pop tunes, founded in washy, distorted guitars, carried by overdriven, tubey lead riffs and blown out vocal melodies, all backed by synthesized drum loops, which are more often than not, smeared with a thick layer of reverb. I know that might sound like a recipe for a jagged mess, but Svizeny traverses the landscape seamlessly, never tipping the balance he creates.

    As stated above, you can go snag Every Weekend from Forged Artifacts — quickly becoming a favorite label of ours. I’m not sure if Dan has any shows coming up or if he’s doing any other stuff, but I do know that you can follow him on Twitter @dansvizeny.

    Right off the bat, the most infectious part of “Living for Love” is the ascending-descending riff, and rightly so, a good chunk of the tune is based around that bit. The hook (“I don’t care / I don’t care” — or at least I think that’s what’s being said) sounds like a The Sea and Cake tape at the end of its life span. To me this song (and much of Every Weekend, really) is defined by layers — everything is so expansive that it almost seems like all the parts could’ve been double tracked. The last minute of “Living for Love” will make this pretty evident. The tune steadily builds toward a crescendo, and then one by one everything drops out until we’re left where we started — a reverb-coated drum machine.

    You can find “Living for Love” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!

     


  3. "THE MOST TERRIBLE MOUNTAINS." - JOEL MAGID [MUSIC]

    It’s another beautiful day in Portland, and lucky for you, it’s only going to get better. Why? Because Jared Brannan is back on the blog, and this time he tells us about his experience with Joel Magid’s Hyenas. Check it out below!

    A few days back, our man Alexei Shishkin passed me the beautiful piece of vinyl that is Joel Magid's Hyenas LP. If I remember correctly, I said something along the lines of “Fucking sweet! I wish every artist that I write about was gracious enough to throw some gorgeous wax my way,” to which Alexei replied, “Dude. Joel was giving this record away for free tonight”. Though I was robbed of my “I’m special” glow, it was pleasantly replaced with “Who is this mysterious Joel Magid, a man who gives away to the public lovely and expensive custom vinyl records?”. Though the man himself may stay forever a mystery, I’ve had the chance to spin Hyenas several times this week, and it sounds as lovely as it looks.

    It was truly difficult to decide on a specific track to feature from Hyenas. The entire record functions as a complete work, the songs all complimenting each other to achieve a vibe that is dark, sultry and even a bit macabre. Aw hell. Lets go with “the most terrible mountains.”

    Right out of the gate, it is obvious that Magid is a fan of heavy tube saturation. The twangy lead guitar and vocals are pleasantly blown out, creating the fuzzy film together. Some of the more sedate rock and roll acts of the early 1960’s immediately come to mind. Shortly after the groove of the tune is established, a good amount of auxiliary percussion drops in, with a warm and complimentary organ tone riding through most of the composition. You’re left imagining a smoke filled speak easy, where people talk in hushed voices about things unknown, and exclusivity is a currency. Magid’s hooky vocal phrasing dances in talk back style with a jangly guitar, with the simple but eloquent chorus “Even if you haven’t gotten far, I am still so proud of what you are”.

    Magid is staying busy, and is back in the studio this month finishing off his third full length LP, which is slated to be released in January. For this project, he has rallied a diverse pool of musicians from Portland’s brimming local scene, including members from AND AND AND, M├íscaras, and Minden. Get down to Mississippi Studios October 10th to check his live show out, where astoundingly, they’ll be offering up 25 copies of Hyenas for free to those on a tight budget. In all honesty though, this is a record worth paying for. Keep up with the latest from Magid on Facebook.

    You can find “the most terrible mountains.” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!

     


  4. "WAYWARD" - BED. [MUSIC]

    There are few things in this world that I love more than sleeping, so it would only make sense that I really dig bed. (period and all) — today’s featured act. Their approach to punctuation is sure to make for a confusing write-up. Here we go!

    One of the unbeatable things about running this blog is that sometimes I get sent some really great stuff that just blows me away (although, to be fair, I get a lot of shitty dubstep remixes sent to me as well). Either way, bed. is definitely one of the former — upon first listen, I was hooked. On their Bandcamp, they use the tag “slow-fi” and while most of those genre descriptors seem to be pretty tongue-in-cheek nowadays, “slow-fi” really paints a picture of their sound pretty well (synthesia-related wordplay, ftw). To me, their sound is defined by big, fuzzy bass tones, which juxtapose nicely with the sweet, whispery, withdrawn vocal approach they typically employ. "Bother" is a good example.

    And check this out: not only do bed. make wonderful tunes, but they also further the advancement of independent music by being the brains behind Breakup Records. It’s a rad label, chock full of talent, so you should go look at the artists involved. After that, go like bed. on Facebook, check out some more of their catalogue on Bandcamp, and follow them on Twitter @thisisbed to keep up with the latest updates.

    I love “Wayward” because of the weight the rhythm section carries — the bass line is big and fuzzy, and the snares and the rim hits are mixed really nicely. The verb on the rim hits isn’t overpowering, but there’s enough of it to fill them out, and the snares have a sweet, fat snap to them. Like, if Tennis made edgier, less-cheesy stuff with more of a shoegazey vibe, it might sound like this (no offense to Tennis, either — I dig them). I’m a big fan of the way the guitars are mixed in this track — they’re not overpowering, letting the rhythm section carry the load, but when it’s their turn to shine, they do. There’re also some synthy or electric piano sounding elements, which add a sweet touch of color, again not overdoing it and striking a sweet balance. All in all, a great single, and one that makes me really glad that I was put onto this band.

    You can find “Wayward” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!

     


  5. "EVELYN" - WORLD FAIR [MUSIC]

    September. It’s my favorite month of the year. Fall is just starting to set in. Summer is hanging on for dear life. It’s cool but not cold, warm but not hot — a perfect balance. It would probably be a perfect time to visit Chicago, which is just where today’s act happens to be from. It’s World Fair, and their track “Evelyn” is the first on our September mixtape.

    Started this past summer, World Fair is another product of a Chicago scene that’s filled with talent. As you may or may not recall, we featured lots of Chicago artists in May, and my general take was that even though that city isn’t typically revered for its music (more so its theatre), there’s still a rampant bunch of DIY artists there — they’re just a bit more difficult to seek out. I’ve found a great batch of musicians out of Chicago, and World Fair is the latest example. If “Evelyn” is any sign, they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.

    As we speak, World Fair is in North Carolina recording their EP, and it looks like it’s going swimmingly. When it’s all done, look for it on their Bandcamp. While this project is still in its infancy (at least in the public eye), I’m excited to see where it goes next. You can keep up with World Fair on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter @worldfairchi.

    "Evelyn" can be summed up in one word: fuzzy. But it can also be summed up in multiple other words: catchy, warm, psychedelic, expansive. It’s really all a matter of how you’re feeling. Vocally, the tune relies heavily on one melody, but luckily, it’s quite a hooky one, sliding and slinking into every next line. A bit over three minutes in, we get my favorite part of the tune — a simple, tube-y guitar lead over an atmosphere of warm fuzz and spacey feedback. The best part about this whole tune is that it’s given room to breathe. It’s not overcomplicated, allowing it to drift and sway all the way through.

    You can find “Evelyn” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!